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house Bill H.R. 4903

Should it be Illegal for the IRS to Target Taxpayers for Exercising Their First Amendment Rights?

Argument in favor

Given the IRS’ history of being used to weaken political opponents Congress has a responsibility to ensure that the agency doesn’t infringe on Americans’ rights.

BTSundra's Opinion
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04/19/2016
I suppose at this point, anybody who votes "nay" is an anti-constitutionalist. The Government should never persecute groups of people based on their political beliefs. I will vote this same way whether it is a liberal persecuting a conservative or vice-versa, as this is a moral issue, not a governmental one.
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operaman's Opinion
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04/18/2016
Yes, it's a hate crime to persecute Conservatives.
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David's Opinion
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04/20/2016
It should be illegal for the IRS to target taxpayers, period. Audits should be random, and there should be no mechanism for making it otherwise. We are to be equal under the law, innocent until proven guilty, and them crooked vultures in D.C. should have no tool at their disposal for damaging political enemies.
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Argument opposed

Clearly the IRS shouldn’t be infringing on the constitutional rights of citizens, so this bill is merely trying to undermine the agency while stating the obvious.

Dinnerandamurder's Opinion
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04/20/2016
This seems like it should be a Yea on the face of it, but it's already illegal!!!! So this bill is purely political posturing. My fear here is this bill will allow legitimate investigations to be closed down by claiming they are being targeted for political reasons. Not all audits are random. If someone is suspected of evasion or illegal shenanigans, the IRS needs the ability to investigate without infringement.
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John's Opinion
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04/24/2016
It already is unconstitutional. Why do we need yet another law? This is simply a political blame game.
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Chris's Opinion
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04/21/2016
The IRS does not and should not infringe on anyone's Constitutional rights. This bill is merely political retribution and another amazing waste of time by a Congressional Caucus trying to score points with a fringe group. To be clear if you as an individual or a group are advertising and advocating that taxes are illegal, too high, or ways around paying you should and will be invite increased scrutiny by the IRS. If not the IRS is not doing their jobs.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4903?

This bill would prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from targeting American citizens for exercising any right that is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the U.S.

It was introduced in response to the IRS targeting scandal that was revealed in 2013, where the agency selected the applications of political groups for additional scrutiny based on their names or political themes they focused on.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the press:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Impact

Taxpayers who might have otherwise been targeted by the IRS for additional scrutiny; and the IRS.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4903

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) introduced this bill to prevent the IRS from targeting Americans for additional scrutiny of their taxes because of how they choose to exercise their First Amendment rights:

“I am proud to introduce legislation to preserve the integrity of the First Amendment by ensuring its protections are never compromised by unelected federal bureaucrats. My legislation protects Americans by prohibiting the use of funds by IRS and its bureaucrats to carry out government abuse on citizens for exercising their God-given constitutional rights. I can think of nothing more despicable… The Constitution is the law of the land, whether the IRS likes it or not.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and several other lawmakers including Rep. Allen coauthored an op-ed column in Townhall, where they stated that they expect this bill to have “wide bipartisan support” when it arrives on the House floor for a vote.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Newtown Graffiti)

Official Title

To prohibit the use of funds by the Internal Revenue Service to target citizens of the United States for exercising any right guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
  • The house Passed April 19th, 2016
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedApril 12th, 2016

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    I suppose at this point, anybody who votes "nay" is an anti-constitutionalist. The Government should never persecute groups of people based on their political beliefs. I will vote this same way whether it is a liberal persecuting a conservative or vice-versa, as this is a moral issue, not a governmental one.
    Like (24)
    Follow
    Share
    This seems like it should be a Yea on the face of it, but it's already illegal!!!! So this bill is purely political posturing. My fear here is this bill will allow legitimate investigations to be closed down by claiming they are being targeted for political reasons. Not all audits are random. If someone is suspected of evasion or illegal shenanigans, the IRS needs the ability to investigate without infringement.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes, it's a hate crime to persecute Conservatives.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    It already is unconstitutional. Why do we need yet another law? This is simply a political blame game.
    Like (8)
    Follow
    Share
    It should be illegal for the IRS to target taxpayers, period. Audits should be random, and there should be no mechanism for making it otherwise. We are to be equal under the law, innocent until proven guilty, and them crooked vultures in D.C. should have no tool at their disposal for damaging political enemies.
    Like (5)
    Follow
    Share
    The IRS does not and should not infringe on anyone's Constitutional rights. This bill is merely political retribution and another amazing waste of time by a Congressional Caucus trying to score points with a fringe group. To be clear if you as an individual or a group are advertising and advocating that taxes are illegal, too high, or ways around paying you should and will be invite increased scrutiny by the IRS. If not the IRS is not doing their jobs.
    Like (4)
    Follow
    Share
    Taxation is theft.
    Like (4)
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    The IRS is abusive and conservative's have already proved they were targeted by the IRS.
    Like (4)
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    Illegal is the IRS! Shut IRS down bc of their blatantly criminal behavior towards innocent tax payers!
    Like (4)
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    Seriously? The IRS and every other government entity should respect first amendment rights. There's no law needed when the Constitution covers it. And this law won't do much to deter those who will try anyway, as Republicans prove daily. Congress needs to stop wasting time on useless bills like this and do something worthwhile like pass a bipartisan budget, give the SCOTUS nominee an up or down vote or work together to help everyday Americans.
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    Considering they are being used as a political weapon amongst other things, yes.
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    Yes, never tread on American freedoms just for a few bucks.
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    Congress shall make no law.....easy!
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    Irs is not intimidation or law enforcement. In fact, lets eliminate the IRS
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    It is illegal for any government agencies or bodies, including Congress, to do so; so this bill is moot. Spend your time passing bills that serve the common people.
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    This is redundant. It's already against the law to do this, it's only a matter of being held responsible. (And until I see an alternative universe where for hundreds of years conservatives were enslaved, then freed then regularly faced with the fear of lynch mobs for decades and have been disenfranchised you lot are not being persecuted so quit being hyperbolic.)
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    Why is this even a question?
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    Yes! And how about rescinding the recent ruling that allows these clowns to confiscate citizens passports. Ridiculous!!
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    🙄
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    Absolutely. For the IRS to target those who don't line up with the leftist authoritarian ideology is Orwellian at best. The only time it's fine to monetarily attack groups who don't agree with one's ideology is to simply boycott. Don't use the gun of the government to do that which you are too weak and cowardly to do your damn self.
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